May 23, 2012
The wait is finally over!
My second book, Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes, can now be purchased through Amazon, and already on pre orders alone, it has been ranked in the top 10 Indian cookbooks. Pretty crazy, when the official release date is still not until early July. I want all of you to know how much I appreciate all of the support and the early sales. All of you - whether you buy one book or a dozen - mean so much to me and the success of my book, business, and mission.
To best explain how this book came about, I'll describe my conversation with my publisher about a year ago. The Indian Slow Cooker was out and doing quite well - he was interested in hearing more book proposals. He wanted a book on meats.
I said, "Sure, but what about a vegan book?" He repeated, "How about a meat book?" And I repeated, "Yeah, but what about vegan?" He finally asked, "Anupy. Are you vegan by any chance?"
I was shocked. I thought everyone knew. But how would they? I rarely bring it up or talk about it. I've been Vegan-ish since graduate school in the mid 1990's. The reasons why are all in the book, but suffice it to say, I've lived on a plant-based diet for decades - I don't eat cheese and don't drink milk.
I can eat this way easily only because I rely on Indian foods and meal options to get me through my days. My go-to's are not just fruit, salads, and fake meats. I live on a plethora of beans, lentils, nuts, and fruits and veggies.
This book is not my money-making answer to a growing food trend. It's a way to share recipes with you that are based on real ingredients and are real food. They will fill you up. They will satisfy you. You won't be thinking about meat as you are eating these foods. But, through this book, I'm also not asking you to be like me. I want you to be the best YOU possible. If this means eating meat still. Fine. If it means giving it up all together. Fine. No judgements. No attempts at labels in this book. Pure explanation of the different types of diets out there and amazing swap outs for your easy 'meat and dairy' go-tos. This way you've got options.
Most Indians already get it. We know how to prep Cauliflower and Potatoes, Chana Masala, and Baingan Bartha (Eggplant Dip). But, what I've included in this book is also my lifelong passion for whole grains. So, my lemon rice is lemon brown rice. My dosas are made from brown rice as well. My morning egg scramble is made from tofu (I've been eating it this way for years), and it's better than any attempt at standard restaurants.
There's instructions on how to sprout your own whole lentils..and how to make samosas - my way. I hate standard, white-flour encrusted fried samosa. My kids hate eating them because the filling always falls out on them. Instead, I've made baked samosa sticks - a total comfort food made from 100 percent whole wheat chapati flour.
Some of you have understandably asked how this book compares to The Indian Slow Cooker, my first book. It's lightyears different. Instead of focussing on Slow Cooker recipes, I'm giving you both. There are a ton of dishes cooked on the stove top and quick salads that you are going to love making again and again including my favorite aloo tikki (made from sweet potatoes), chana chaat (chickpea street salad), aloo parantha (bread stuffed with spicy potatoes), and even authentic chai. And, no slow cooker recipe that was in the first is in the second book. I really was careful not to duplicate. But, if a slow cooker recipe was popular in the first book, I do give you recipes on how to make say Rajmah, on the stove top.
But, I have not strayed away from the slow cooker angle, because it's such a wonderful concept for us busy folks out there juggling life, family, and work. A new section that I am particularly proud of is called Slow Cooked Legumes to Stovetop. It will change your life. You can now cook dried whole beans and lentils in a the slow cooker with just water and essentially tuck them away in the fridge or freezer. So, whenever a recipe calls for beans or lentils, just pull them out and cook them on the stovetop, add them to soups and salads, or puree them into an Indianized hummus.
This virtually eliminates the need for expensive canned beans and lentils that are typically mushy anyway. And, it eliminates the debate on leaching from the lining of cans.
And, I've got some favorites like mattar paneer (spiced peas and 'cheese') and band gobi (Punjabi cabbage) broken down in a stove top format AND slow cooker. I make my own veggie burgers in this book (one from white chickpeas and one from black chickpeas), and both are so much better than the frozen ones you get in the store, that you'll wonder why you ever wasted money on the latter.
Some of my favorite smoothies even made it into the drink section - from greens to a beet and strawberry smoothie that you will love making for yourself and your kids.
Gosh, and if I haven't given you enough reason to buy this book, consider the fact that I give you all my recipes for masalas - spice mixtures. Sure, you can buy them all from this website, but you can also make them yourself. From garam masala, to chat, chana, and sambhar masala. It's all in this book. Full disclosure, folks.
So, get the book, sit back and enjoy making all of the recipes. You'll love them. And, I hope, rarely order take out again.
To get you started, here's a recipe from Vegan Indian Cooking:
Punjabi-Style Cabbage (Band Gobi), page 164
Yield: 7 cups
3 tablespoons oil (grape seed, canola, vegetable, or olive)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 yellow or red onion, peeled and diced
1 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced or grated
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 medium head white cabbage, shredded
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chile, stem removed, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
You can actually make this in the slow cooker! Put all of your ingredients in a 3 1/2 - quart slow cooker and mix gently. Cook on low for 4 hours. It really is that easy!